Conservation staus: Endangered. Has disappeared from many areas of former occurrence, with ongoing decline documented in several regions. Total population perhaps under 10,000, many of these in isolated groups facing local extinction. Causes for decline include suppression of natural fires, over-cutting of pine forest in southeast.
Habitat: Open pine woodlands. Ideal habitat is mature pine woods (trees 80-100 or more years old), with very open understory maintained by frequent fires (the pines are fire-resistant). Most common in longleaf pine, but inhabits other pines as well, rarely cypress adjacent to pine woods.
Once fairly common in the southeastern United States, this bird is now rare, local, and considered an endangered species. It requires precise conditions within mature pine forest, a habitat that is now scarce. Lives in isolated clans, each clan an extended family group, with one pair of adults assisted in their nesting by up to four additional birds. The red cockade for which the bird is named, a small patch of feathers behind the eye of the male, is usually hard to see in the field.
Inspired by the Red-cockaded Woodpecker's resilience, the Houston Astros affiliate has chosen the bird to be its official mascot.
Last week, the city’s new minor league baseball team, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, announced its chosen mascot and name: the Woodpeckers, inspired by the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. The bird is well-known among Fayetteville residents; the area holds one of the last remaining strongholds of the longleaf pines, making it key habitat for a recouping Red-cockaded population
We have a local state forest which dedicated to help the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the JONES STATE FOREST. The Forest is stocked primarily with native loblolly pine. Other native species include shortleaf pine and various hardwoods. The oldest pine trees in the forest are about 100 years old; the average age is about fifty years. W. Goodrich Jones State Forest is one of two state forests with a significant population of the endangered red cockaded woodpecker. The Texas Forest Service actively works to protect and enhance the species's recovery. Part of guarding the bird's habitat involves the periodic burning of certain portions of the forest in order to protect the birds from such predators as flying squirrels, which gain better access to nests if there is a dense hardwood "midstory" present under the pines.
Judith if you ever get to the Houston area to bird, I’ll take you to see this woodpecker. They are very active and easy to see.
Note; I'll be on the road for the next two days traveling to Franklin, TN to see 5 grandchildren in various forms of athletic achievement....so I may not be able to leave comments on your photos but I will catch up as time permits.